Band flies rainbow flag at Chinese music festival

Headlining band wave rainbow flag at Shanghai's Strawberry festival, play song in tribute to gay Hong Kong singer Leslie Cheung

Band flies rainbow flag at Chinese music festival
02 May 2012

At the first night of Strawberry music festival in Shanghai on Sunday, headlining act Top Floor Circus made a bold declaration for gay rights, unfurling a giant rainbow flag on stage.

When the band returned to the Love Stage for an encore, they performed a song by Leslie Cheung, the popular Hong Kong actor and singer and one of the first openly gay Chinese celebrities, who committed suicide nine years ago.

Top Floor Circus vocalist Lu Chen said: 'There is diversity in love. I hope you all love your real selves'.

Guitarist Mei Er then gestured to members of Nvai, a Shanghai lesbian group, who were in the crowd, to pass him their huge one-metre by two-metre rainbow flag. Mei then lifted it defiantly to the audience, who screamed in a appreciation.

This heart-warming moment, the first time a big band in China has made such an absolute statement in support of same-sex love, was germinated before the gig when Top Floor Circus posted on the Weibo account that their set at Strawberry Festival would be 'dedicated to all kinds of love: gay, straight, bisexual'. Because of that, rainbow flags were decorated throughout the crowd and Nvai did well selling them for 10RMB ($1.59, €1.20) each.

Editor of Time Out Shanghai, Jake Newby, who has written about rock music in the city for over five years and was at the gig said: 'It's pretty rare for a mainland band to take such a public stance in support of LGBT rights – plenty of pop stars might say generic things about "love for all", but few make such an explicit statement in the way that they did.'

Newby points out that the band's stance is even more bold considering they were banned from performing live in Shanghai for a year for writing a tongue-in-cheek anti-Shanghai Expo 2010 song, Shanghai Welcomes You.

'The younger generation are more open about expressing support for gay rights,' said Summer Wu, a student and volunteer for Nvai.

Watch Top Floor Circus's performance at Strawberry festival (the rainbow flag appears from 2.30 minutes in):

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Gay teen planning to lose virginity ‘in the name of art’ chooses London venue

Clayton Pettet, 19, is being accused of 'cheapening sexual relationships' for his 'once-in-a-lifetime performance'
No thumbnail available

Global fitness trends: New York City

GSN visits New York City to experience some of the latest developments in the world of fitness
No thumbnail available

Neil Patrick Harris on juggling kids and career

TV and film star says working out schedule is 'like a Tetris game'
No thumbnail available

GSN Loves seeing the first episode of HBO's Looking - for free

Gay dramedy set in San Francisco turns up on YouTube
No thumbnail available

Tom Hardy to play twin gangsters who were both gay in new film Legend

Hardy portrays Ronald and Reggie Kray (aka the Kray Twins) who ran East London’s underworld in the 1950s and '60s
No thumbnail available

Gay Star News shortlisted for a National Diversity Award

From activist Peter Tatchell to Trans Media Watch to GSN editor Tris Reid-Smith, the National Diversity Awards shortlist is out
No thumbnail available

Hundreds march against anti-trans violence in Hyderabad pride

India's fourth largest city sees 40 anti-trans attacks in the last six months
No thumbnail available

Anti-gay marriage group compares the fight against marriage equality to the struggle against slavery

'...America’s abolitionists recalled the timeless insight that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” The wisdom of these words applies as much today as then'
No thumbnail available

Grandchildren in hand, trans activist Poppy Rose leads 5,000 marchers for Norwich Pride

Leading her grandchildren down the town center, Poppy Rose sets the tone for a gay pride parade calling attention to homophobia in sport and school
No thumbnail available

'Respect local culture': Singapore minister rebukes US investment bank for LGBT recruitment drive

'Foreign companies here should not venture into public advocacy for causes that sow discord amongst Singaporeans,' a minister said in response to news that a company is hosting a recruitment dinner for LGBT students